Senator says scammers, legislators shouldn't take all the blame
Calls on other countries to do more to protect Jamaicans
Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
SENATOR K.D. Knight has urged the Government to undertake an "aggressive approach to getting reciprocity" from other countries, arguing that in the same way Jamaica is enacting legislation to protect citizens of the United States, steps should be taken to stem the flow of guns into Jamaica.
"In the same way we are behaving as we are behaving, other countries should accept a responsibility not only for the protection of their own citizens, but for the protection of ours too," Knight said.
The government senator, who as served as minister of national security, justice and foreign affairs, was making his contribution to the debate on the law Reform (Fraudulent Transaction) (Special Provisions) Act in the Senate.
The bill proposes prison terms of up to 25 years for persons found guilty of lottery scam offences.
While describing some victims of the lottery scam as greedy, Knight said it was to the credit of Jamaica that laws were being enacted to protect victims. He noted, however, that Jamaica has been overrun with guns, and said more needed be done to prevent their importation.
"If there are weapons coming into this country from a particular source, more has to be done to prevent those weapons from coming into this country," Knight said.
He added: "We are trying for years with some of our partners to get them to step up to the plate and assist us as we are assisting them and they have every single reason in the world why they can't do more, but none being reasonable."
Knight said that it was time that Jamaicans "stand up and say, 'Guns are coming from these sources and we are pleased to announced that the exporting countries have taken these steps to help us to control this problem that we have here'."
NEED FOR OTHERS TO CHIP IN
Opposition Senator Dr Christopher Tufton has urged Foreign Minister A.J. Nicholson to say what is being done to deal with the issue of the flow of illegal guns into Jamaica.
"I believe we have to demonstrate to the Jamaican people that we are as committed to addressing the problem when it affects us, when we are the primary victims, as we are when others are the victims," Tufton said.
In the meantime, Knight told the Senate that it was greed by persons in the US that was fuelling the lottery scam.
"In Jamaica, we have a saying - 'If you don't have a ticket, you don't have a chance'. A lot of people get caught with this lotto scam; they are motivated by greed," Knight said.
He added: "It is not only old, vulnerable persons who fall prey. Persons of different age groups, different professions, persons who know they didn't buy anything and it amazes me when persons in certain jurisdictions get caught.
"People need, in some of these justisdictions, to be educated. It cannot be left simply to criminal-law legislation and it cannot be that the entire blame is placed on us and on scammers," Knight said.
"I am against scamming, but there is a major role to be played by countries where their citizens suffer from the scamming," the senator said.
Government senators Lambert Brown and Navel Clarke sided with Knight in saying greed was a major factor causing people to seek to cash in on a lottery prize for which they have not bought a ticket.